Can I give ‘normal’ birth after a C-Section?

A C-Section is most often performed in emergencies where a complication during either pregnancy or childbirth poses a serious risk to the health of either or both mother and child. In these cases the surgery, which involves creating a surgical opening in the lower abdomen (belly area) through which a baby can be delivered, is performed under anaesthesia or epidural pain relief.

This procedure is generally performed out of medical necessity, and unsurprisingly if you have had a C-section you may have some worries about future pregnancies and how you might be able to give birth in the future. This article addresses the question of normal vaginal births after C-section deliveries.

Births after a caesarean

Having a caesarean section doesn’t mean that you will always need to have surgeries for childbirth in the future. If there are no major health concerns in subsequent pregnancies then you are fine to go ahead with a standard vaginal birth, which is referred to as a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) in some circles. It comes down to the reasons behind the C-section, and ultimately your doctor will be the authority on whether it is best to plan for a vaginal birth or C-section next time around.

In cases where the C-section was performed because of a complication specific to that pregnancy, like a breech birth (where a baby is positioned feet down as opposed to head down during labour), chances are you can go ahead with a vaginal birth if you decide to have another child.

However if a C-section was performed because of a condition affecting your health as a mother, then you may need to plan for a C-section in following pregnancies. Examples of these conditions include hypertension, any heart disease, or glaucoma, all conditions where the high blood pressure associated with childbirth can be detrimental to your health. Similarly if you have a small pelvis through which childbirth is difficult and potentially risky, a C-section may be advisable in the future.

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